Malaysiakini Letter

GBM endorses Bill on Social Inclusion Act 2014

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Preamble

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia [GBM] is a non-partisan, multi-ethnic, multi-faith coalition of 24 civil society organisations (listed below) established in 2011 to champion the cause for a better Malaysia.

YB Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, Member of Parliament, Sungei Siput has submitted a motion to the Secretary of the Dewan Rakyat to table a Private Member’s Bill entitled the Social Inclusion Act 2014 (SIA, 2014) at the coming session of Parliament starting March 10, 2014.

GBM strongly endorses this initiative as the essence of the proposed Bill is in line with GBM’s charter that states:

 “There must be equitable distribution of wealth, to eradicate poverty, end marginalisation and ensure the welfare of the people. Any affirmative action must be based on needs and not ethnicity.”

Background

In August 2012, Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and the Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam) presented the draft Social Inclusion Act. The proposal highlighted, that:-

  • The vision to achieve a just, equitable and inclusive society is enshrined in the Rukunegara proclaimed on the 31st August 1970 and that we are far from realising the national aspiration set forth in this historic document.
  • Almost forty percent of Anak Bangsa Malaysia is still trapped in the inter-generational cycle of poverty and inequality. Poor and Low-Income households comprising 12 million citizens lack the capability to overcome the multi-dimensional disadvantages they face on a daily basis. Vulnerable individuals and groups continue to encounter prejudice and discrimination, and remain marginalised.
  • There is an increasing disconnect between our people from the Bottom 40 percent households with the rest of society. They are trapped in a constellation of disadvantages due to the low asset base that includes low levels of education and skills, poor nutrition and health; and unwholesome living conditions.
  • A host of social ills associated with dysfunctional families from this stratum of our society is becoming evident. Increasing rates of substance abuse, delinquency and dropouts, child abuse, crime and mental illnesses, are clear indicators that something is amiss in our beloved nation.
  • Since 1990, income inequality has been worsening. The bottom 40 percent households have an average monthly income RM1,847 compared to RM12,159 for the top 20 percent. Their income share is 14.8 percent compared to the 48.6 percent share of the ‘top 20 percent’ households.  And the ‘top10 percent’ of households has an income share of 33.1 percent compared to 2.0 percent of the “bottom 10 percent’ households.
  • Additionally there is growing inequality between the poor and low-income families and those in the middle and upper classes in terms of health status and educational achievements.
In essence, the rationale for the SIA was the need for a new paradigm that focuses on long term solutions to bring about a socially just and more inclusive society. In order to address the root causes of poverty and marginalisation in a non-partisan and dispassionate manner, it proposed:-

  • The establishment of an independent Social Inclusion Commission answerable directly to Parliament. This commission would be mandated to have oversight over all matters of poverty reduction, affirmative action and social inclusiveness.
For details of proposals contained in the draft legislation please see this link .

Since September 2012 the SIA proposal has gone through a consultation process that included political parties and civil society organisations. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) have endorsed the proposed Act and included it in their respective GE13 manifesto. We believe the other parties that attended the dialogue are still studying the proposal.

Civil society organisations that attended the dialogue acknowledged the urgent need to address the serious issue of poverty and marginalisation and in principle supported the proposed Act.

In November 2012, GBM fully endorsed the proposed legislation and issued a statement on this. Please see this link .

Rationale

The overarching reasons for this call to adopt and implement the Social Inclusion Act 2014 are:-

- The basic needs of all our people must be fulfilled in a fair and equitable manner in order to realize a socially harmonious society that we all aspire to achieve;

  • Uplifting the socio-economic status of the disadvantaged members in our society has always been one of the main goals of all our development plans, since Independence;
  • Inculcating the spirit of self-reliance, strengthening self-esteem and upholding the dignity of our people are fundamental values enshrined in universal human rights and enjoined by all faiths;
  • Providing our less fortunate children the hope and the capability to break the inter- generational cycle of poverty and inequality is imperative; and
  • Ensuring that all will benefit - through higher productivity and a better quality of life (Nation) reduced social problems (Community); and less anxiety and stress (individual) - is the aspiration of all Malaysians.
Next Steps

We believe this legislation contains key proposals that would go a long way towards achieving the goal of a just, equitable and inclusive society as envisioned in the Rukunegara promulgated on Aug 31, 1970.  

We appeal to the federal and state governments to give serious consideration to this proposal and to seek ways to adopt and implement the Social Inclusion Act.

The People’s Representatives in Parliament must take responsibility. We urge all MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, to seriously study the proposed legislation in order to support this Private Member’s Bill.

The people must know their rights and must take ownership. We urge the people from all strata of our society to support this noble initiative and to urge their MPs to support this Private Member’s Bill.

This is indeed the time to come together as a nation to address the real issues of poverty, inequality and marginalisation in a non-partisan and dispassionate manner.

Issued by: Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM)

List of 24 GBM organisation members:

1) Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)

2) Aliran

3) Tamil Foundation

4) Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia (IKRAM)

5)  Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha; Krisitian; Hindu; Sikh dan Tao (MPMA-BKHST)

6) Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)

7) Penang Chinese Town Hall (PGCTH)

8) The Federation of Chinese Associations Johore State (FCAJ)

9) Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG)

10) United Chinese School Alumni Association of Malaysia (UCSAAM)

11) Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

12) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)

13) Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)

14) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

15) Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)

16) National Indian Rights Action Team (Niat)

17) Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)

18) All Women’s Action Society (Awam)

19) Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)

20) Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (Liu-Hua)

21) Nanyang University Alumni Malaya (Nanda)

22) Japan Graduates Association, Malayia (Jagam)

23) Gabungan Persatuan Alumni Uniersiti Taiwan Malaysia (GPAUTM)

24) Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

Sign in


Welcome back,

Your subscription expires on
  

Your subscription will expire soon, kindly renew before
  

Your subscription is expired
  Click here to renew

You are not subscribed to any subscription package
  Click here to subscribe now

Any questions?
  Email: [email protected]
  Call: +603-777-00000

Renew